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Parker vs Joshua upset on tap? Look no further than Evander Holyfield

Lee Cleveland Updated
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By most accounts, WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua should silence his WBO peer, Joseph Parker, Saturday.


During his pro career, Joshua has looked dominant while Parker, since 2016, has appeared vulnerable at times, and against lesser opponents.

Joshua's stiff test came against all-time great Wladimir Klitschko and the former rose to the occasion like a true champion. But Parker, although unbeaten, has arguably benefitted from a few controversial decisions lately against opponents who were inferior to AJ's latest conquests. Hence, from a betting lines point of view, Joshua's toughest four opponents would have been favored over Parker's.

Remember Parker's less-than-impressive wins over Hughie Fury, Andy Ruiz, Jr and Razvan Cojanu? 

Perhaps bad elbows at least partially explain Parker's subpar performances - or maybe it's something else?

Enter Evander Holyfield.

Like the legendary 'Real Deal' back in the day, Parker might fight to the level of his opposition. If so, that would explain why he hasn't been terribly dominant.

Let's not forget, Evander, when fighting at the top tier of the heavyweight division, didn't dominant a lot of opponents either. It seemed Holyfield always had problems regardless of whether his opponent was Mike Tyson or George Foreman, or Vaughn Bean or Bobby Czyz.

Top flight contender Alex Stewart went the distance with Evander twice while Tyson KO'd him in less than a round. In fact, Holyfield vs Stewart I was a brutal classic.

Remarkably, that same year Holyfield waged an iconic war with former champion Michael Dokes, eventually stopping him in Round 10 in what Ring Magazine considers the best heavyweight fight of the 1980s. However, Riddick Bowe needed less than a round to dispatch Dokes in what amounted to little more than a showcase.

And let's not forget the Holyfield vs Bert Cooper war. The latter took that fight on 7-10 day notice after Mike Tyson pulled out due to a rib injury and nearly lifted the title from Evander in Round 3.

Holyfield scored a knockdown from a body shot in Round 1 and it appeared the route was on.... Until Copper, not even ranked by the WBC, badly hurt the champion in Round 3, flooring Evander for the first time in his career and subsequently generating high drama, jolting Evander with his sneaky right hand.

Evander would go on to stop Cooper in Round 7.

So, back to Joseph Parker...

Like Holyfield, Parker depends on speed and quickness, and despite boasting power, doesn't possess the explosiveness of an Anthony Joshua or Mike Tyson. And like Evander, Joseph is well-rounded and solid in every area but isn't the best in any category. Parker doesn't have a major weapon per se but brings the total package.

Bottom line: Holyfield wasn't overwhelming but found ways to win.

Fans thinking Joshua should steamroll Parker based on nothing more than a comparison of resumes and results should look no further than fight legend Evander Holyfield.

Are we in for a Parker vs Joshua upset?

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